This shovel loader is the ideal machine for large contract digging in the sand pit! The front scoop can be raised and lowered by a large lever which is conveniently placed for the driver’s hand and the bucket can be swivelled and locked into position when loads of sand have to be transported off site.

It is fairly simple to make and will withstand all the rigours of child play in the great outdoors. I used Nordic redwood in stock sizes for the job.

1 Mark and cut out the two body side panels. Tape them together and mark and cut out the recessed section for the operator’s cab. Drill the holes for the wheel axles. Separate the panels and drill pilot holes for the bucket arms (both sides) and the bucket lever (right-hand panel only).

2 The body panels are held together by pieces of timber (infill panels) glued between their inside faces. Cut out the five infill panels required. Cramp up the body of the vehicle ‘dry’ to check everything fits, then separate-the pieces, apply glue and cramp them in position again. You will probably find it helpful to thread the steel axles in position to help keep everything lined up while the glue is drying. Do check that the chassis is square when you have tightened the cramps as the glue will make things slip.

3 Now cut out the four strips for the ‘radiator panel’ at the back of the shovel loader. Glue these into position when the glue has set on the main body. You could add further detailing by panel-pinning strips of aluminium mesh between the grille bars.

4 The cab is the next job to tackle. Make a template out of cardboard for the side walls and use it to mark them out onto your timber. Before you cut them out, however, cut a rebate along the bottom edge of the timber. This will enable you to position the side walls on to the body more easily. Now cut out the side walls and remove the waste piece in the middle for the cab window using a jigsaw or coping saw. Use glasspaper to achieve a good finish and round off the corners at the bottom of the windows.

5 Cut out the other pieces needed for the cab: the three cross members and rear cab wall that will hold the side walls together; the seat; and the roof. You also need to make the console assembly. For this you need to drill a hole in a disc of thick dowelling rod and glue a piece of thinner dowelling into this hole to form the steering wheel. Cut out and shape a block of timber (note the angle needed at the bottom), drill a hole of the appropriate diameter and glue the steering wheel in position.

Pay particular attention to all the edges of the cab pieces. Make sure they are all rounded off nicely and smoothed with glasspaper, especially the roof. When they are ready for fitting, cramp the cab together dry to check everything fits and then glue the cross members and rear cab wall in position, checking that the cramps are holding it square while the glue dries. Then glue the seat and console in place and, finally, glue on the roof.

You can add more detail by glueing small plywood or dowelling instrument’ discs to the inside of the lower windscreen, if you wish.

6 Now make the rear mudguards. These are rather ‘over-size’ for the scale of the toy, the reason being that a youngster not only needs a wide ‘platform’ to sit on, but also protection from the wheels.

The only difficult bit of this job is the angle that is needed at the top of the upright sections. Mark the angle carefully and use a smoothing plane to remove the waste, working from both sides into the centre. Your plane will need to be very sharp as you are cutting across the grain.

The Bucket

The bucket is made from plywood. Get Finnish plywood if you can as it is very good quality.

1 Make a template for the sides, following the dimensions given on the plans. Draw round it on to your plywood and cut out the two sides using a jigsaw. Drill holes for the steel rod that will hold the bucket to the arms.

2 Cut to length the back of the bucket which is made from stock size timber. Glue the bucket sides and bottom on to this piece of timber.

3 Cut out the pieces of timber that fit on to the plywood bottom of the bucket and on to the top edge of the timber back, between the plywood sides. The former should have a chamfered edge to aid sand scooping. Glue them in position.

4 The plywood sides need strengthening where the steel rod that attaches the bucket to the arms is fixed. Cut out two semi-circular pieces of timber and drill holes for the rod. Glue them in position on the inside faces of the sides, behind the back of the bucket.

6 Now make the bucket handle. This involves a certain amount of shaping as there are two curved sections. Once you have marked out your curves in pencil, use a jigsaw or coping saw to remove the waste. Drill the hole for the steel rod that will attach it to the bucket.

7 Now make the locking lever and lock pin that control the tilting of the bucket Drill a hole in the lever to take the lock pin (which is simply one piece of dowelling glued into another piece). The locking lever now has to be glued and screwed on to the inside of the left-hand bucket side.

8 The bucket is held to the body of the shovel loader by means of two parallel arms. At the body end they are screwed in place and at the bucket end they are held in position by a steel rod. Make the two arms and drill holes for the steel rod and the necessary screws.

You also need to drill a hole in the left-hand arm for the lock pin. To make sure this aligns properly, line up the arms with the sides and thread the steel rod in position. Cover the end of the lock pin with pencil or chalk. Holding the locking lever parallel to the left-hand arm, push the lock pin through the hole in the locking lever and turn it against the arm,

Take everything apart again and the lead graphite from the pencil, or the chalk dust, on the bucket arm will show you where to drill your hole for the lock pin. When the toy is finally in use, the lock pin will be pushed in and out of these holes to lock and unlock the bucket.

Glue and screw a cross piece of timber in place on the underside of the bucket arms to hold them parallel.

Finally, screw the bucket arm assembly onto the sides of the shovel loader body using very large gauge screws (No. 8-12) for strength. It is a good idea to fit a cup screw, if you can get one large enough, or a washer under the screw head.

9 Now cut out and shape the lever that controls the raising and lowering of the bucket. Drill the holes for the screws that will attach it to the body panel. The screws you use should again be large gauge (No. 8-12) with a washer or a cup screw under the head. When the lever is pulled up, the end will press down on the end of the bucket arm and raise the bucket. Tighten the screw that attaches the lever to the body panel enough for it to hold a bucket of sand securely in the raised position.

10 Thread the steel rod through the sides of the bucket, the arms and the bucket handle using two lengths of plastic tubing as spacers, one each side of the handle, to ensure the arms stay in place.

11 A good glass papering all over and several coats of non-toxic varnish will finish the toy off properly, but do not leave the toy outside for long for the reasons explained on page 95. Volvo logos are available from ‘Wheels’.

12 The final job is to fit the axles, wheels and spring caps. To give the impression of the huge width of tyre used by Volvo on such trucks I used two wheels on each side. The ones at the back have to be held clear of the chassis sides by two lengths of plastic tubing. I painted the wheel centres and the ends of the handle and operating lever rod red to give it a dash of colour.

Cutting list

Body side panel 2 off 533 x 191 x 22mm(21 x 7 ½ x 7/8 in) Timber

Infill panels 1 off 283 X 95 x 22mm(111/8 x 3¾ x 7/8 in) Timber

1 off 270 x 95 x 22mm (105/8 x 3¾ x 7/8in) Timber

1 off 197 x 95 x 22mm (7¾ x 3¾ x 7/8 in) Timber

1 off 168 x 95 x 22mm (65/s X 3¾ x 7/8 in) Timber

1 off 140 x 95 x 22mm(5½ x 3¾ x 7/8 in) Timber

Radiator grille bars 4 off 95 x 16 x 6mm (3¾ x 5/8 x ¼ in) Timber

Mudguards 2 off 184 x 79 x 22mm (7¼ х31/8 х 7/8 in) Timber

2 off 152 x 79 x 22mm(6×31/8 x 7/8in) Timber

Cab side wall 2 off 191 x 165 x 22mm(7½ х 6½ x 7/8in) Timber

Roof 1 off 178 x 178 x 22mm (7 X 7 x 7/8 in) Timber

Upper windscreen cross member 1 off 152 x 32 x 22mm (6 x 1¼ x 7/8 in) Timber

Lower windscreen cross member 1 off 152 X 44 X 22mm (6 х 1¾ х 7/8 in) Timber

Rear window upper cross member 1 off : 114 x 32 x 22mm (4½ х 1¼ x 7/8 in) Timber

Rear cab wall 1 off 114 x 70 x 22mm (4½ x 2¾ x 7/8 in) Timber

Seat 1 off 114 X 54 x 22mm (4½ x 21/8 x 7/8 in) Timber

Console assembly 1 off 60 x 47 x 22mm (23/8 x 17/8 x 7/8 in) Timber

1 off 32 x 32 x 6mm (1¼ x 1¼ x ¼ in) Timber

1 off 38mm (1½ in) x 6mm (¼ in) diam dowelling

Bucket handle 1 off 254 x 70 x 22mm (10 x 2¾ x 7/8 in) Timber

Lever to raise bucket 1 off 264 x 44 x 22mm (103/8 x 1¾ x 7/8 in) Timber

Lock lever 1 off 152 x 47 x 22mm (6 x 11/8 X 7/8 in) Timber

Lock pin 1 off 89mm (З½ in) x 20mm (3/4 in) diam dowelling

1 off 102mm (4in) X 9mm (2/8 in) diam dowelling

Bucket arm assembly 2 off 381 x 47 x 22mm(l5 X 17/8 x 7/8 in) Timber

1 off 184 x 47 x 22mm (7¼ x 17/8 x 7/8 in) Timber

Bucket 1 off 330 x 152 x 22mm(l3 x 6 x 7/8in) Timber

1 off 349 x 133 x 9mm (13¾ x 5¼ x 3/8 in) Plywood

1 off 349 x 57 x 9mm (13¾ x 2¼ x 3/8 in) Timber

2 off 149 x 159 x 9mm (57/8 x 6 ¼ X 3/8 in) Plywood

2 off 159 x 54 x 22mm (6¼ x 21/8 x 7/8 in) Timber

1 off 330 x 25 x 6mm(13 x 1 x ¼ in) Timber


8 off 152mm (6in) diam road wheels

2 off 343mm (13½ in) x 9mm (3/8 in) diam steel rods

4 off 9mm (3/8 in) spring dome caps

4 off 20mm (3/8 in) x 9mm (3/8 in) /diam plastic tube spacers

1 off 362mm (14¼ in) x 6mm (¼ in) diam steel rod

2 off 6mm (¼ in) spring dome caps

2 off 57mm (2¼ in) x 6mm (¼ in) ‘/diam plastic tube spacers

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